BLOG | by Victor Gras

Export opportunities for major leagues on the up during Coronavirus lull

With the coronavirus still clouding the sports schedules and with sport in many markets only partially running (if at all), there’s a real opportunity for leagues which have got started to tap into overseas markets.

Take Major League Baseball and Japan, for example. While the domestic Nippon league got up and running in June, there still seems to be plenty of built-up demand for other competitions. In the past month, Buzz around MLB in Japan has increased nearly tenfold (see chart below).

In fact, it is now ranked second of all the properties we track in the country, behind only Nippon Professional Baseball.

As you can see, it’s a similar story for MLB in South Korea, where Buzz has increased from around eight points a month ago to almost 14 today, pushing it into fifth place of all the properties we track.

While we creating this kind of analysis, we thought we’d also look at how the NBA was performing in China, historically one of its biggest foreign markets, following the restart. It’s good news there too. Over the past month, the NBA’s Buzz score has doubled as it bounces healthily back from its enforced break.

So while the new sporting set-up may not suit every domestic fan, the data shows sports marketers that every cloud has a silver lining. Opportunities for growth may still exist.

BLOG | by Victor Gras

Head of Client Services

Joining YouGov Sport in March 2018, Victor brings seven years of global sports sponsorship expertise. In his last role, he led Nielsen’s Market Intelligence activity across all US verticals, working with brands, rights holders and agency clients. He also worked previously with the New York Road Runners, where he helped TCS launch the title partnership of the NYC Marathon, as well as with the ASO, optimizing sponsorship strategies for the Tour de France and the Paris Marathon.


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